5 Secrets to Great Success Hidden in the Quran [Part 1]
Aaaah. Success. That elusive word that means different things to different people in different ways. And even to the same person, success means different things at different times. Such a powerful but nebulous word.
However, before we can even think of attaining success in any way, it is vital we define what it is, or what we all agree it means. The word success has its origin in the Latin word ‘succedere’, which means to come close after.
Seek through the wealth that Allah has given you to make your abode in the Hereafter, and also do not forget your share from this world; and do good to others as Allah has done good to you; and do not strive to make mischief on the earth, for Allah does not like the mischief-makers. (Sura Al-Qasas 77)
We have certain secrets hidden in the Quran that are surefire ways to attain success both in this world and the next life. However, these secrets are quite hidden in plain sight and are very easy to overlook; something I personally did for a long time.
For so long a time, we as Muslims have been quite fixated on success in the hereafter, most at times, at the detriment of the life of this world. The beauty of Islam is that one needs not be extreme at all. In fact, Islam is a religion of balance. The life of this world should not be sacrificed for that of the hereafter, and vice versa.
Thus have We made you a Community of the “Golden Mean” so that you may be witnesses in regard to mankind and the Messenger may be a witness in regard to you. (Sura Al-Baqara 143)
These secrets increase the chances of success for anyone who pays heed to them. So with that out of the way, lets get to the meat of it shall we :-).
1. Know Thy Self
This is actually quite simple and, the more you think about it, the more powerful it feels. Knowing oneself is the first true step to real success. This is based on the fact that one cannot act differently from what one perceives his or herself to be. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of the groundbreaking book Psyco Cybernetics, argued that ‘our self image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become.’
Know your enemies, and know yourself and in a 100 battles, you’ll not suffer peril. (Sun Tzu)
Essentially, we cannot act in ways that are inconsistent with our self images. This means to achieve any form of success, we need to have a healthy self image that is in consonant with success. It will be very much impossible for a person to have a self image of a failure and then be chalking any real success.
This point is captured quite succinctly and eloquently in the Quran when Allah says ‘indeed Allah does not change a people’s lot unless they themselves change their own characteristics’ (Sura Ar-Ra’d 11).
The Arabic word used to refer to what to change in the above verse is ‘Anfusihim’, the plural of ‘Nafs’ which means the self. Allah is telling us unless what we desire is first manifested in our selves, the there’s no way He is going to give us success. And this is exactly what Dr. Maltz propounded throughout his career.
A human being always acts and feels and performs in accordance with what he imagines to be true about himself and his environment…For imagination sets the goal ‘picture’ which our automatic mechanism works on. We act, or fail to act, not because of ‘will,’ as is so commonly believed, but because of imagination. (Dr. Maxwell Maltz, New Psycho-Cybernetics)
Until we begin to develop a healthy self image of ourselves, picture the successes we desire in our lives even before those successes are manifested, then we are going to have a hard time making it.
Allah has given us the first and most important key to success right there in a very succinct line. You must know yourself, and you must change your view of yourself into what you desire.
2.Trust and Confidence
The second secret to success as found in the Quran is that of absolute trust in Allah and confidence in His Help. You see, we are humans, frail, weak, impatient, and sometimes outright ingrates. These are base human instincts that we all need to fight. Sometimes these weaknesses tend to weaken our resolve, and open the avenue for Shaitaan to whisper into our ears.
When we are weak, when the going gets tough, our trust levels get low. But my dear brothers and sisters, it is when the going gets tough that we MUST increase our trust in Allah and confidence in the fact that He will come to our aid.
It’s important to note that I am not implying having a strong trust in Allah that He will come to our aid when we are arrested for committing crimes or breaking very clearly laid down laws. No. But that He Allah will aid us in our daily battles.
This secret of trust can be found in the story of Prophet Muusa and Banii Israail (Children of Israel).
“When the two hosts came face to face with each other, the companions of Moses cried out: ‘We are overtaken!’ Moses said, ‘No, never! With me indeed is my Lord: He will surely guide me.’ We inspired Moses with the Command: ‘Smite the sea with your staff.’ The sea parted forthwith and its each part stood like a mighty mountain’ (Sura As-Shu’araa 61–63)
When Phiraoun and his hosts set out chasing Muusa and his folks, and they came across the sea, the people of Muusa clearly lost hope. But look at Muusa and the confidence he exuded.
He without a doubt, gave an emphatic no and made it clear he had full trust in Allah and was confident Allah would come to his aid. This was a very difficult matter that could have meant either being drowned, or being recaptured into slavery. It was grim.
Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day. Whosoever fears Allah in whatever he does, Allah will open for him away out of the difficulties and will provide for him from whence he could little imagine. And whoever trusts in Allah, He is enough for him. Allah brings His decrees to fulfillment.11 Allah has appointed a destiny for everything. (Sura Talaaq 2–3)
Now this scene is so beautiful. Muusa never had any doubts in his mind. At all. He knew and trusted Allah would come to his aid. And when you trust Allah, do good deeds and have confident in Him, He will come to your aid at the most depressing of moments.
Reading the above verses we note that immediately Muusa had said he was confident in Allah and that Allah would surely guide him, the next verse just vindicated him. Allah answered his call and guided Muusa. Just like he had predicted.
Allah immediately -no pause, no waits whatsoever- inspired Muusa and said strike the sea with your staff. And when Muusa did as he was told by Allah, behold, the ‘sea parted forthwith and its each part stood like a mighty mountain.’
This is what absolute trust and confidence in Allah can do for us. As Muslims, we are fortunate to have Allah as our Rab (Lord, Master,). He Allah has promised to come to the aid of anyone who believes, does righteous good deeds and trusts Allah.
Take also the story of our own Noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). On his migration to Madina from Makkah together with his closest friend Abubakr, being pursued by the then Makkan idolaters, he got trapped in a cave.
All his pursuers needed to do was look down through the opening of the cave and the two would have been caught. Abubakr expressed his apprehension, and our Noble Prophet — full of trust and confidence in Allah- comforted his companion, saying ‘be not distressed, for indeed Allah is with us.’
If you do not help your Prophet, (it does not matter): Allah did help him before when the disbelievers forced him to go away from his home, and he was but the second of two: when the two were in the cave; when he was saying to his Companion, “Be not distressed: indeed Allah is with us.” Then Allah sent down peace of mind to him from Himself, and helped him with the forces you did not see, and made the word of the disbelievers abased. And Allah’s Word is always supreme, for Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise (Sura Taubah 40)
And what happened, a spider — yes spider- came to weave a web over the entrance of the cave. This single and simple spider web was what saved the two. Isn’t it beautiful trusting Allah?
I don’t know about you, but I personally feel very excited reading Allah promising to come to my aid if only I’d trust him. Don’t you think Allah can do for you exactly what He did for Muusa? And what is the price? Just Trust and have confidence in Allah.
Trust Allah that the success that you want will be granted you. And that all the forces of the universe will be brought to your aid just for you to achieve that success. But you must first trust Allah and have confidence in Him.
To make the write up into easily digestible chunks, it has been broken into three parts that will be published over the next one week. Please watch out for the second part in the coming days Inshaa Allah.
The author is co-founder of Pious Adornments, an online Islamic clothing store that aims to promote modesty among Muslim ladies through modern, trendy and affordable Islamic fashion.